Mind Meld 216 | The Mind of Infinity with Dr. Donald Hoffman

Dr. Donald Hoffman returns to the mind meld to chat about the illusion of reality. Why there will never be a theory of everything and why the universe is an infinite candy store.


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Don Hoffman is a Professor of Cognitive Science at UC Irvine. His chief areas of inquiry include perception, the illusory nature of reality, free will, and the development of a model for consciousness.

When you get so attached to a particular map of reality that you become a rabid agent of it, you’re in trouble. You cannibalize your own wonder until, eventually, you spend more time defending your territory than actually investigating the mystery it symbolizes.

So That’s something I always look for in a guest— People who are not only interesting, brilliant, creative, or whatever, but also manage to lay down their hubris– bow to the mystery. 

That sort of humbleness is even more infectious when the person in question has every reason to be feeling themselves. Every reason to be secreting pride because they objectively are that talented or brilliant. 

I’m not sure if there’s a better example of that than doctor Don Hoffman. He’s a professor of cognitive science at UC Irvine and the author of The Case Against Reality: Why evolution hid the truth from our eyes. 

Though Don is a respected, accomplished scientist he’s also a down-to-earth, wonder-fueled seeker. He’s genuinely interested in querying the mysterium tremendum. In understanding whatever it is that’s truly going on in this incredible ocean of fractal phenomena we call the universe. 

That said, Don doesn’t drown in the wonder. He approaches his curiosities with responsibility and rigor. He achieves a rare balance of action and awe.

For more on Don, check out his previous appearances on the show.

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